Snow squall causes 81-vehicle pileup on Ohio interstate

A late-afternoon snow squall caused a massive 81-vehicle pileup on Interstate 71 in central Ohio on Tuesday, but no serious injuries were reported, police said.

The State Highway Patrol said the crash involved 11 commercial vehicles, including at least one semi-truck that ended up on its side in the incident in Morrow County, located about 40 miles northeast of Columbus.

"People were driving backwards on the expressway toward us to get out. It was crazy," Wendy Denton, who was traveling to Akron, told WSYX/WTTE. "I've never seen that happen in my life."

Ohio Pileup 1

A semi-truck is tipped over after a massive pileup on an Ohio interstate caused by a snow squall.  (WSYX/WTTE-TV)

The series of crashes left cars crumpled, tipped over and scattered along the lanes of the interstate.

Several minor injuries were reported, a spokesperson from the Ohio Department of Transportation told WSYX/WTTE.

Ohio Crash 2

A snow squall caused a pileup involving 81 vehicles on Interstate 71 in Ohio.  (Chris Kowalski)

The snow squall in the area at the time caused white-out conditions for drivers.


"When we were coming south just patches of boom! Just crazy white snow and you can't see 20 feet in front of you and I can totally see that's what happened," Mike Smith, who was traveling to Dayton, told WSYX/WTTE.

Ohio Crash 1

A snow squall caused a pileup involving 81 vehicles on Interstate 71 in Ohio.  (Chris Kowalski)

The massive crash shut down parts of the highway for several hours, stranding motorists caught behind the carnage. Photos of the massive accident were posted on social media.

Authorities were able fully reopen the highway before midnight, after workers were able to clear the lanes from all the vehicles involved in the crash.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @travfed